Bhubaneswar: In a major jolt to the ongoing vaccination drive in Odisha, the state government Wednesday was forced to shut down over 700 vaccination centres owing to the shortage of Covishield vaccine.
Alarmed that the stock of Covishield vaccine will be exhausted within the next two days, Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das wrote Wednesday to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan seeking his intervention.
“Odisha is vaccinating approximately 2.5 lakh persons daily. Due to shortage of vaccine, we have had to close nearly 700 vaccination centres in Odisha (out of over 1400 functional sites, only 755 could be made active today),” the minister said in his letter to Harsh Vardhan.
“As of 7th April (10.00 AM), we have stock of 5.34 lakh doses of Covishield. With this stock, we will be able to continue vaccination for the next two days. By April 9, the entire state will exhaust the stock of Covishield. This will adversely impact timely administration of second dose of vaccine as well as delay in vaccination of citizens (45 years and above),” the minister said.
“Therefore I would to draw your kind attention to this matter and request you to take necessary steps for supplying at least 10 days stock i.e. 25 lakh doses of Covishield to Odisha immediately for effective vaccination of the targeted population,” the minister said.
In a separate development, the Union government said it has decided to start COVID-19 vaccination sessions at workplaces from April 11. However, each of the offices where the programme will be launched must have a minimum of 100 eligible beneficiaries who are aged 45 and above.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to Odisha Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra said a substantial proportion of the population aged 45 years and above is in the organised sector of the economy and is involved in formal occupation at offices (government and private) or manufacturing and services.
“In order to increase the access of vaccine to this section of the population, COVID-19 vaccination sessions may be organised at workplaces with 100 or more eligible beneficiaries, by tagging these with an existing Covid Vaccination Centre (CVC),” Bhushan said in his letter.
Asked about Odisha’s preparedness on this programme, state Nodal Officer for vaccination proggramme, Bijay Panigrahi, said, “Today the guidelines were issued by Centre. Very soon, the state government will hold meeting in this regard.”